Front Page Titles (by Subject) To Mary Gladstone - Selections from the Correspondence of the First Lord Acton, Vol. I (Cardinal Newman, Lady Blennerhassett, W.E. Gladstone)
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To Mary Gladstone - John Emerich Edward Dalberg, Lord Acton, Selections from the Correspondence of the First Lord Acton, Vol. I (Cardinal Newman, Lady Blennerhassett, W.E. Gladstone) 
Selections from the Correspondence of the First Lord Acton, edited with and Introduction by John Neville Figgis and Renald Vere Laurence. Vol. I Correspondence with Cardinal Newman, Lady Blennerhassett, W.E. Gladstone and Others (London: Longmans, Gree and Co., 1917).
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To Mary Gladstone
Dear Miss Gladstone,1 —
Knowing what I know, I was much struck last night by a conversation at Grillion’s between Kimberley, Forster, and others on the defeat of last Monday. They seemed not to have heard more than everybody; and I ask myself whether the truth has reached the proper quarter.
The defeat was prepared by the Birmingham wirepullers to evade the impending collision between the two wings of the Government; and they induced their people to stay away and bring the Tories in for a time.
If you do not know or believe this, let me say that I have it on the best Birmingham authority1 ; and I intreat you to tell the P. M. straight away and without consulting anybody.
For reasons which, I assure you, are sufficient.
The transaction is not perfectly clear and limpid in the eyes of all men. The more the Whips defend themselves, and individual members justify their absence, the more a doubt arises as to the action and design of the P. M. himself, in refusing to adjourn the debate; as the critical difficulties of the moment are—in part—notorious, and also the zeal of several colleagues to get out of it. In my opinion this circumstance makes it difficult to persist, through thick and thin, if Salisbury breaks down and asks the late Government to resume office.
That he may do so seems likely from the rumour of an intended compact, and also from the manifest want of cohesion in the Conservative party yesterday.
Therefore, if power comes back to your father, he would, in accepting it, defeat an intrigue among his own followers at the same time that he would sweep away the appearance of having ridden for a fall.
And considering the contradictory elements composing the majority, I am persuaded that this would be the more patriotic course.
This is only the complement of what I have said before. I am tempted to insist because of the fact mentioned above, and also because May, the most central of men, and G. Russell, the most intelligent of the Whigs, agree with me.—Yours most truly,
Princes Gate,June 16, 1885.
[1 ] This letter refers to the defeat of the Government in 1885 on the Vote by a combination of Tories and Irish.
[1 ] Mr. Joseph Chamberlain, who at that time was Lord Acton’s tenant at Princes Gate.